Dre Russ to show power

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Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders
Wednesday 30 March 15.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Reliable RCB

There’s something very sweet indeed about the status quo remaining with RCB despite a mega auction and a change in captaincy from Virat Kohli to Faf Du Plessis.

They are still profligate with the ball, either through a lack of skill or nerve. How many times have we seen Mohammad Siraj spray it around as they fail desperately to defend a big score?

After defeat by Punjab, having posted 205, it would be very RCB to make a raft of changes. Well, that was Kohli’s way anyway. Du Plessis has more about him than that so we expect the same XI. Glenn Maxwell, Josh Hazlewood and Jason Behrendorff remain unavailable.

Possible XI: Du Plessis, Rawat, Kohli, Karthik, Rutherford, Willey, Shahbaz, Hasaranga, Harshal, Siraj, Deep

Kolkata Knight Riders lived up to the expectation that they are genuine contenders by beating the holders, Chennai, in their first game of the season.

There was a lot to like about their performance with the ball. They restricted the Super Kings to just 131, and it could (perhaps should) have been better as they allowed MS Dhoni to cut loose.

They chased with relative ease, although it was slightly disappointing to see Ajinkya Rahane open the batting. They need far more intent than that if they are to go deep.

Possible XI: Venkatesh, Rahane, Rana, Shreyas, Billings, Russell, Jackson, Narine, Umesh, Mavi, Chakratharvy

Pitch report

This is the first IPL action at DY Patil Stadium since 2011. Back then it was one for the blowers. If RCB v Punjab is anything to go by the nature of the surface has changed markedly. Both posted 200 or more. A repeat is 11/1 with Sportsbook.

Safer bets are the 4/5 that both notch 160 or the 7/5 that both hit 170. Du Plessis complained about dew against Punjab so that’s a good pointer. The boundaries look short to the eye, too, with back-foot sixes hit straight. Bet the Sportsbook odds here.

KKR the pick

One of the golden rules of the IPL has been to take RCB on at odds-on. So we would not need to be told twice when they are priced as short as 1.784/5. KKR are pushing 2.305/4.

It is early days, of course, but we expect KKR to be shown to be superior over the tourny and if the toss goes their way and they chase, we’re very happy to get with them at around 2.1011/10. Bet the match odds here.

Tops value

Andre Russell plays his 400th franchise game. He is 16/1 for man of the match. We’re not having an emotional bet, merely pointing out that it looks way too big. On win rate (yes, we checked all 399) he should be 11s.

Russell is that price for top KKR bat. That’s a bet on win rate, too. We’re also enamoured with the 9/2 that he finishes as top bowler because Pat Cummins is listed and won’t play, meaning Dre Russ should get the death-bowling gig.

We note the tendency for the match gong to go to impact players. An example being Odean Smith in the RCB-Punjab match. Russell is more than capable of a quickfire 20-odd to turn a game and take the plaudits. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.